It is obvious one of the main reasons we are selecting No. 2 overall in this year’s draft has been to our previous mistakes in drafting players through the past two regimes. This is my little insight to what the current brain trust at Dove Valley should be figuring out come draft night.
1.) Don’t swing for the fences, I have seen the whole notion that we need four impact starters from this year’s draft. While that is a great goal, if we continue to put pressure on the picks to hit a home run with every pick, we are apt to swing and miss more than make solid contact and take what we have. Teams that have been successful in the draft (Pittsburgh, New England, Philly, Indy) understand that singles also work. They will pick a solid prospect rather than pick a boom or bust type of guy. They understand that quality teams have depth and depth starts from getting solid prospects and not risky players. They also understand that solid propsects have a greater chance of being on the team long term and maybe aren't the all pro's, but they are the core of what makes great fanchises great.
2.) The Tape don’t lie, it seems that coaches and personnel department people seem to weigh combine numbers and pro days over actual production on the field. But as we have seen so often, the combine numbers should just be used to confirm what you already know on tape. Don’t get me wrong, looking at a guys’ short shuttle and such can be a good measuring stick when you have two players rated the same based on the game tape, but in depth analysis of the game tapes is critical. As important as the production is how did a guy play in the scheme, did he play well against better competition, what were they asked to do and did they do it well, did they make those around them better. A perfect example of this is Blaine Gabbert, many rated as the best or second best QB prospect in the draft, he looks great in shorts, yet at Missouri he basically just completed three yard dump passes, he couldn’t make those third and long throws, couldn’t make plays against better talent, couldn’t make a secondary read. What I am saying is watch that game tape, good and bad.
3.) Don’t think you are the smartest man in the room, you aren’t. Too many of our draft day mistakes have been by people running the draft thinking they were smarter than everyone else in the room or in the NFL. Don’t try to satisfy your ego by trying to prove that you think you know something no one else knows. Believe in what your scouts tell you, listen to them and value the insight from everyone, don’t feel you need to make a name for yourself in the NFL. If 97 out of 100 guys think someone is too risky or a big developmental project, then they are probably right, even if you think otherwise. Your ego will be satisfied by adding quality players to the roster that make the team better, don’t be Ahab and try to get the White Whale, it will destroy you.
4.) Don’t fall in love with guys. Any given player coming into the draft probably has about a 30% chance (at best) of making an impact or even being on the team in three years. If you have two or three guys rated about the same, don’t fall in love with one player, the other guys have the same chance of making an impact.
5.) Don’t overvalue any player and more prospects are always a good thing. Learn from the Pats who understand that any player you draft is a risk, the way to lower your risk and have more success is to have more prospects or more chances at getting it right. And though there may be an urge to try to fix everything in one draft, understand that the rebuilding process is a long road and that stockpiling picks for later years is not a bad thing.